Winston Churchill Biography
Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874, in Buckingham Palace, the family estate of the Dukes of Marlborough. His father was a prominent politician, a member of the House of Commons from the Conservative Party, and served as Chancellor of the Exchequer. His mother was the daughter of a wealthy American businessman.
Childhood and Youth
Winston Churchill was educated at the Harrow Privileged School and the British Royal Military College. Only his third attempt of admission was successful.
In March 1895, he was enrolled in the Fourth Hussar Regiment as a lieutenant assigned to Hampshire.
In 1896-1898 he served in India. He participated in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and was a military correspondent. In November 1899, Churchill was captured by the Boer commander-in-chief Luis Boto, the future first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa and close friend of Churchill. After his release from captivity, he left military service and spent some time in the US, where he gave lectures. Returning to England began to build his political career.
Debut in Politics
In July 1899, he received an offer to run for parliament from the Conservative Party of Oldham. The first attempt to take a seat in the House of Commons was not successful. In July 1900, Churchill returned to England and soon again put forward his candidacy from Oldham (Lancashire). In addition to the reputation of the hero and the promise of voters, it helped that the engineer Dusnap, who had assisted him, came from Oldham, and Churchill did not forget to mention it in his election speeches. In the election, the Conservatives gained the majority and became the ruling party. The same year, he published his only major work of art – the novel “The Savior.” Many biographers of Churchill and literary critics believe that the author portrayed himself in the image of the main character of the novel.
The Minister of Internal Affairs
On February 14, 1910, at the age of 35, Churchill occupied the post of Minister of the Interior, one of the most influential posts in the country. The ministerial salary was 5000 pounds, and he left his literary career, returning to this occupation only in 1923.
The World War I
Britain officially entered the First World War on August 3, 1914, but on already on July 28, Churchill ordered the fleet to enter combat positions on the coast of England. The permission was obtained by the Prime Minister in hindsight.
On October 5, Churchill arrived in Antwerp and personally led the defense of the city, which the Belgian government offered to leave to the Germans. Despite all efforts, the city fell on October 10. 2,500 soldiers were killed. Churchill was accused of an unjustified waste of resources and lives, although many noted that the defense of Antwerp helped keep Calais and Dunkirk.
In 1915, he became one of the initiators of the Dardanelles operation, which ended catastrophically for the Allied forces and caused a government crisis. Churchill largely took over the responsibility for the fiasco, and when a new, coalition government was formed, the Conservatives demanded his resignation from the post of First Lord of the Admiralty.
In July 1917, he was appointed to the post of the Minister of Armaments, and in January 1919 of the Minister of War and Minister of Aviation. He became one of the architects of the so-called “Ten Year Rule.” It was a doctrine according to which military construction and the military budget should be planned on the basis of an attitude that England will not be involved in major conflicts for ten years after the end of the war. Churchill was one of the main supporters and main initiators of the intervention in Russia.
The World War II
On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, which was the beginning of the Second World War. September 3, the United Kingdom officially entered the war, and within 10 days all of the British Commonwealth repeated this action. On the same day, Winston Churchill was offered the post of First Lord of the Admiralty with the right to vote in the Military Council.
Despite the fact that on land, after the defeat of the Polish army and the surrender of Poland, there were no active hostilities, there was a so-called “strange war,” the fighting at sea almost immediately went into the active phase.
The Prime Minister
On May 7, 1940, hearings devoted to the defeat in the Battle of Norway were held in the House of Commons, the next day a vote was taken on the issue of trust to the government. Despite the received formal vote of confidence, Chamberlain decided to resign, in connection with the sharp criticism that the cabinet policy has undergone and a slight margin in the vote.
The most suitable candidates were Churchill and Lord Halifax. On May 9, at a meeting in which Chamberlain, Churchill, Lord Halifax and the parliamentary organizer of the government David Margesson took part, Halifax relinquished office, and on May 10, 1940, George VI formally appointed Churchill as the prime minister. Churchill received this post not as the leader of the party that won the elections, but as a result of a confluence of extraordinary circumstances. His rhetoric and energy provided moral support for the British people during the Battle of Britain. The first speech he delivered after becoming the prime minister was the famous “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech. His speeches and personal courage were very inspiring and helped people overcome the hard times of war.
After the War
When the victory over Germany became apparent, his wife and family advised Churchill to retire, leaving political activity at the height of glory, but he decided to participate in the elections that were scheduled for May 1945. By the end of the war, economic problems came to the fore, the economy of Britain suffered heavy losses, external debt grew, relations with overseas colonies became more complicated. The absence of a clear economic program and unsuccessful tactical moves during the election campaign led to the defeat of the conservatives in the elections held on July 5.
On July 26, immediately after the announcement of the voting results, he resigned; while he officially recommended to King Clement Attlee as a successor and refused to award the Order of the Garter.
He was intensely engaged in the literary activity; the status of world celebrity helped to conclude a number of major contracts with periodicals such as Life magazine, The Daily Telegraph and The New York Times, and a number of leading publishers. During this period, Churchill began working on one of the main memoir works – “World War II,” the first volume of which was released on October 4, 1948.
On March 5, 1946, in Westminster College in Fulton (Missouri, USA) Churchill uttered the famous Fulton speech, which is considered to be the starting point of the “Cold War.”
On September 19, speaking at the University of Zurich, Churchill delivered a speech, urging the former enemies Germany, France, and Britain to reconcile and create the “United States of Europe.”
In 1947, in private conversation, he invited Senator Stiles Bridge to persuade the US President Harry Truman to launch a preventive nuclear strike against the USSR that would destroy the Kremlin and turn the Soviet Union into an “insignificant problem.” Otherwise, in his opinion, the USSR would have attacked the US already in 2-3 years after receiving the atomic bomb.
In October 1951, when Winston Churchill again became prime minister at the age of 76, his state of health and ability to perform his duties aroused grave concern. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Churchill died on January 24, 1965, from a stroke. The plan of his burial, codenamed “Hope not,” was developed over many years. It was decided to organize a state funeral. Before Churchill, only ten outstanding people not being the members of the royal family were awarded this honor in the history of Britain. Among them were the physicist Isaac Newton, Admiral Nelson, Duke of Wellington, politician Gladstone. In accordance with the wishes of the politician, he was buried in the family burial plot of the Spencer Churchill family in the cemetery of St. Martin’s Church in Blaydon, near the Blenheim Palace.
Winston Churchill Quote
• “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.”
• “There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.”
• “To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”
• “To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to change often.”
• “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
• “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
• “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
• “Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”
• “One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”
• “Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”
• “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
• “Broadly speaking short words are best and the old words when short, are best of all.”
• “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.”
• “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
• “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
• “Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.”
• “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”
• “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
• “Everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others.”
• “You have enemies? Good. It means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
• “Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”
• “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
• “Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.”
• “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
• “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”
• “We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.”
• “We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
• “What is adequacy? Adequacy is no standard at all.”
• “There is always much to be said for not attempting more than you can do and for making a certainty of what you try. But this principle, like others in life and war, has it exceptions.”
• “There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right and not to fear to do or say what you believe to be right.”
• “In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.”
• “Every man should ask himself each day whether he is not too readily accepting negative solutions.”
• “It is wonderful what great strides can be made when there is a resolute purpose behind them.”
• “The first duty of the university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we do not want a world of engineers.”
• “In finance, everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable.”
• “All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.”
• “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
• “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”
• “All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.”
• “The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that when nations are strong they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are often no longer strong.”
• “I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
• “If we open a quarrel between the past and the present we shall find that we have lost the future.”
• “It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
• “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”
• “The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.”
• “When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”
• “Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.”
• “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
• “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”
• “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.”
Winston Churchill’s 10 most important speeches
Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat
(May 13, 1940; The House of Commons)
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He repeated that phrase later in the day when he asked the House of Commons for a vote of confidence in his new all-party government. The response of Labour was heart-warming; the Conservative reaction was luke-warm. They still really wanted Neville Chamberlain. For the first time, the people had hope but Churchill commented to General Ismay: “Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.” read full
The Liberties of Britain
(January 10, 1910. Friends’ Institute, Birmingham)
The House of Lords] regards all our liberties and political rights as enjoyed and enjoyable only so long as they choose to let us go on having them. But once we touch reality, once we touch their interests and privileges – [kicks his platform] Out!
(August 20, 1940; The House of Commons)
The great air battle which has been in progress over this Island for the last few weeks has recently attained a high intensity.
The United States of Europe
(September 19, 1946, University of Zurich)
If at first all the States of Europe are not willing or able to join the Union, we must nevertheless proceed to assemble and combine those who will and those who can.
We Shall Fight on the Beaches
(June 4, 1940; House of Commons)
“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air…
(March 1, 1955; House of Commons)
The hydrogen bomb has made an astounding incursion into the structure of our lives and thoughts.
The day may dawn when fair play, love for one’s fellow-men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.”
Speech addressing a joint session of the US Congress
(December 26, 1941; U.S. Congress)
In the days to come the British and American peoples will for their own safety and for the good of all walk together side by side in majesty, injustice and in peace.
Sinews of Peace
(March, 5, 1946; Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri)
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
(June 18, 1940; House of Commons)
What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin…
Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
Speech on Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Bill
(22 April 1904; House of Commons)
t lies with the Government to satisfy the working classes that there is no justification…er… [long silence]